children and rights
Arrested Individuals, in need of help, 2 (2)

scrolldown Letters work!!   November 26 
Human Rights 
Child Rights 



From: Kosova Action Network, US (315) 471-7790  

Continuation - Jailed, Students and Individuals

APPEAL for...

Unfortunately the case of "the Prizren 10" is not an isolated one. There has been an increase in the numbers of Albanians arrested for unspecified terrorist attacks and sentenced to prison terms. There has also been an increase in the numbers of Albanians disappeared while in the custody of the police. We urge you to demand that the following actions occur in Kosovo:

Treatment of and Access to Detainees
* fully disclose the names of those currently detained in the course of the conflict, their ages, where they were captured, where they are being detained, and other relevant details;
* allow the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) unhindered and ongoing access to all detainees, including those who are currently being investigated but have not been charged with a crime;
* guarantee that detainees have regular access to their lawyers and family members, that they are able to meet with their lawyers in private, and have adequate resources and time to prepare their defense;
* conduct an investigation into the allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment in detention, including in particular allegations of the deaths of at least five persons as a result of torture by police. Those found responsible for such abuse should be held accountable before the law.
* undertake efforts to guarantee fair trials for all those currently in detention.

The following was excerpted from a Human Rights Watch Report on human rights abuses in Kosovo since March 1998.

According to the Yugoslav government, a round of trials will begin in October, and eight judges will be sent to Kosovo to deal with the high case load. In the past, terrorism-related trials have been marred by serious procedural irregularities, as well as the use of torture to extract confessions.

Human Rights Watch - general information on arrests

* According to Adem Bajri, a lawyer in Pec who works with the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms, as of September 21, 251 ethnic Albanians were in the Pec jail facing charges of terrorist activity.
Criminal charges had been filed against 510 others who remain at large. Mr. Bajri told Human Rights Watch that he has twenty-four clients in prison, all of whom are facing charges of terrorism. Mr. Bajri has been allowed to visit his clients and said that virtually all show signs of torture, including injuries such as bruises on the body and broken bones.

* According to Albanian press reports, on July 20 the police stopped a bus near Podujevo that was traveling to Kosovo from Slovenia. Fifty-four ethnic Albanians who had been working in Slovenia were initially arrested. On August 17, thirty-nine were released. A lawyer who visited them on July 29 in Prokuple prison, which lies about twenty-five miles outside Kosovo in Serbia proper, told Human Rights Watch that he saw clear signs that they had been beaten.72 The other fifteen remain in detention charged with terrorist acts based on Articles 125 and 136 of the Serbian Penal Code. At the time of arrest, the police took from them a total of 352,018 DM.

* According to the Serbian police, after intense fighting with the KLA in Orahovac, they arrested 223 ethnic Albanians suspected of "terrorism." All of them except twenty-six were reportedly released after questioning.

* On September 4 and 5, the Serbian police detained more than 600 ethnic Albanians from around the villages of Ponorac, Ratkovac, and Drenovac who had been internally displaced because of fighting. According to diplomatic sources that spoke with witnesses, the women and children were released and the men were taken to the Ponorac schoolhouse, where they were filmed by Serbian state television as "captured terrorists." Most of the men were reportedly released on September 5 but an estimated forty people remained in police custody. Human Rights Watch saw photographs of the alleged "terrorists" which showed a large group of men on their knees with the hands behind their heads being guarded by armed police officers.

* On September 24, the Media Center in Priština reported that, according to the police, 194 ethnic Albanians had been arrested on September 22 and 23 during a police action in the Cicavica Mountains northwest of Priština. The authorities have opened investigations against those arrested. In contrast, on September 26, the Albanian daily Koha Ditore cited Ministry of Interior spokesman Bozidar Filic as saying that 325 Albanians had been arrested.

Some individual cases

Destan Rukiqi
Destan Rukiqi, a lawyer in Priština who has defended dozens of ethnic Albanian political prisoners in Kosovo in recent years, was arrested on July 23, 1998, and sentenced that same day in a summary proceeding to the maximum sixty days in prison for disturbing public order (under Article 6, paragraph 3 of the Serbian Law on Public Order). The arrest was related to an incident that morning, when Rukiqi had raised his voice at a district judge in Priština, Ms. Danica Marinkovic, telling her, "I am in the court but you are acting like the police," after she had refused to let Rukiqi take notes while reviewing the case file of his client, Cen Dugolli (see below).

Mr. Rukiqi was severely beaten on his third day in detention by policemen at the Priština prison. He told Human Rights Watch that he was held down and beaten on his hands, feet and kidneys with a three-foot long rubber baton. Over the next two weeks, he underwent dialysis eleven times. Mr. Rukiqi's sentence was reduced by the Serbian Supreme Court to thirty days, and he was released on August 22. Rukiqi had been involved in a number of human rights related cases, and had provided information on war crimes committed by Serbian special police forces in Kosovo to the ICTY in the Hague.

Zahrida Podrimçaku
Ms. Zahrida Podrimçaku, an activist with the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in Glogovac, was detained by police in Priština on June 8, 1998, together with Ibrahim Makolli, who works at the council's offices in Priština. Mr. Makolli was released after a few hours of questioning, but Ms. Podrimcaku remained in custody and was denied contact with a lawyer or her family for several days. On June 12, she was charged with committing "terrorist acts" (Articles 125 and 136 of the Serbian Penal Code). Ms. Podrimçaku had been investigating what happened on May 31, 1998, in the village of Novi Poklek, when police detained ten ethnic Albanian men during an attack on the village. The body of one of the men, Ardian Deliu, was found the next day, while the other nine men remain missing and are presumed dead. Podrimçaku was charged with supporting terrorists and is awaiting trial in Lipljan prison. Her lawyer, Mrs. Lirije Osmani, has been allowed to visit, and reported that Ms. Podrimcaku had been physically maltreatment.

LDK Activists from Urosevac
On July 31, 1998, seven activists of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in Urosevac were detained, interrogated, and beaten by the police, according to the LDK. Milazim Haliti and Fatmir Sylejmani, members of the LDK presidency were arrested at their offices in the morning. Adem Salija, chairman of the local LDK presidency and member of the Kosovo Parliament, was arrested in the afternoon, as was Agim Recica, chairman of the local LDK sub-branch in Urosevac.

Besa Arllati
Mrs. Besa Arllati, chairwoman of the LDK information commission in Dakovica, was arrested on May 26 and brought to the police station in Dakovica, where she was interrogated and beaten by police chief Sreten Camatovic.82 Police reportedly wanted to know about two Serbian policemen, Nikola Jovanovic and Rade Popadic, who they believed had been seized by the KLA. Arllati was detained and interrogated on and off for the next few days, until June 1, about the work of the KLA and the activities of Albanians in the area.

Dr. Fehmi Vula
Dr. Fehmi Vula, a surgeon at the Dakovica hospital, member of the Dakovica LDK presidency and member of the shadow Kosovo Parliament, was arrested on May 29, 1998. On June 3, a Prizren court extended his detention to thirty days to investigate possible "terrorist acts" as defined in Article 136 of the Serbian penal code. As of September 1, Dr. Vula was in detention awaiting trial.

Mevlude Sarraqi
Mrs. Mevlude Sarraqi, member of the LDK presidency, head of the LDK Women's Forum, and a member of the Kosovo Parliament, was arrested on June 1 and charged with "Association for the purpose of hostile activity" under Article 136 of the Serbian penal code. She was arrested in advance of a rally organized by the Women's Forum to protest the detention of LDK activists, such as Dr. Vula and Besa Arllati. She is currently in Lipljan prison.

At least one hundred ethnic Albanians have "disappeared" in Kosovo since February 1998, about half of whom were last seen in the custody of the police. The precise number is impossible to determine since the Yugoslav authorities do not make public the number of people they have in detention. Some of the "disappeared" may be in prison, others may be dead. Others unaccounted for in the conflict may be in hiding, have fled Kosovo, or have joined the KLA.

Below are some cases of "disappearances" of ethnic Albanians believed to have been carried out by government forces:

Dr. Hafir Shala
On April 10, 1998, Dr. Hafir Shala, a doctor with the Health Care Center in Glogovac, was taken into detention by the police, along with two friends, Hetem Sinani and Shaban Neziri. The latter two were interrogated and released but Mr. Shala was held. He has not been seen or heard from since.

The three men were traveling in Shaban Neziri's car to Priština when the traffic police stopped the car near Slatina village around 8:00 a.m. As the police were checking their identification, three men in plain clothes emerged from a black jeep that was parked nearby and told Dr. Shala to come with them to Priština, while Mr. Sinani and Mr. Neziri were instructed to follow in their car. All three men were taken to the police station in Priština and interrogated in separate rooms until 2:00 p.m.. At that time, Mr. Sinani and Mr. Neziri were released. They told their lawyer, Destan Rukiqi, that they heard Dr. Shala screaming from pain from an unknown room in the police station as they left.64

Mr. Rukiqi told Human Rights Watch that he had taken various measures to locate Dr. Shala, all to no avail. On April 16, he wrote to the Serbian Ministry of Justice, the Serbian Prosecutor's office, and the district prosecutor in Priština. The next day, the Priština prosecutor, Slavko Stevanovic, said the State Security office in Priština had no information on Shala's whereabouts. Letters written by Human Rights Watch to the Serbian and Yugoslav Ministries of Interior and Justice on July 20, 1998, on Dr. Shala's case remain unanswered.

Along with those who have been arrested and incarcerated there has been an increase in the numbers of people "disappeared" after last being seen in the company of the police.

Jakup Qerimi
According to the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms, the police detained Jakup Qerimi, a twenty-seven-year-old ethnic Albanian who is mentally handicapped, in Urosevac on June 20, and he has not been seen since. The police allegedly told his mother that she would never see her son again.

Idriz Idrizi
According the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Humanitarian Law Center, Idriz Idrizi from Srbica was taken by the police on January 23 from near the ammunition factory outside of Donji Prekaz. As of September 1998, he was still unaccounted for.

Nine Men from Novi Poklek
On May 31, 1998, Serbian special police forces attacked the village of Novi Poklek near Glogovac. Ten men were taken by the police: the body of one of them, Ardian Deliu, was found the next day. The other nine men are still "disappeared."

Teresa Crawford

For More information Please Contact
Teresa Crawford, Kosova Action Network, US
(315) 471-7790,

  Secretary of State, Madame Albright
President Bill Clinton 202-456-1111
Ambassador Robert Gelbard 202-647-0939
Vice President Al Gore

Back to Part 1 (2)

GREAT UPDATE NEWS!!!! Three of the Prizren students were released last week. The three young women are now at home with their families.
Letters work!!!

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